Stephanie Tullo

Stephanie Tullo Stephanie joined the CoBrA lab in May 2015 as an undergraduate student in Neuroscience at McGill University. She completed her Master of Science in the Integrated Program in Neuroscience (IPN) at McGill under the supervision of Dr. Mallar Chakravarty. Stephanie is currently a PhD student in the IPN. Her research interests include the influence of various factors, such as environmental influences or genetic factors, on brain structure and behaviour, as well as the cytopathology of neurodegenerative disorders and its effects on brain anatomy using neuroimaging techniques. She is currently working on establishing a biocomputational model to investigate Parkinson’s Disease (PD) progression via pathological alpha-synuclein protein spreading along the brain’s networks. The goal of this work is to provide a means of predicting the course of the complex relationship between pathology and PD-related behaviours, in an effort to better understand the mechanisms of PD, and potentially provide a test-bed for testing novel therapeutics.

For her Master’s, Stephanie worked on improving automated segmentation accuracy of the striatum, globus pallidus, and thalamus by creating five high-resolution atlases for MAGeT-Brain. The creation of these atlases also served to homogenize the MAGeT-Brain input atlases, allowing for simultaneous multi-structure segmentation of these subcortical structures along with the hippocampal subfields and white matter, and the cerebellum. For more information, see Tullo et al..

Stephanie was also involved in the recruitment of two human studies conducted by our lab, “Effects of normal and healthy aging on hippocampal subfield anatomy”, and “High-resolution MRI-based biomarkers for identifying risk for Alzheimer’s disease”. With the acquisition of these data, for her Master’s, she also examined the relationship between age and subcortical morphology (volume and surface area) and microstructures (using the T1w/T2w ratio) of the striatum, globus pallidus, and thalamus across the healthy adult lifespan. The goal of this work was to provide a normative baseline of the expected patterns of decline in healthy individuals, to better understand the deviations observed in various disorders in which these subcortical structures are heavily implicated, such as in Parkinson’s disease.

In her free time, Stephanie enjoys playing sports (especially soccer and tennis), supporting Canada Women’s National Soccer Team, and reading psychological thrillers.